Friday, March 4, 2011

The Constitution of the Confederate States

Another post based on the Covington Journal, this one of February 23, 1861.

The Constitution of the Confederate States
The New York Herald points out several particulars in which the Constitution of the Confederate States differs from the Constitution of the United States.

The old one commences with the words - "We the people of the United States &c., -  The new - "We the deputies of the Sovereign and Independent States of South Carolina, &c.," - thus distinctly indicating their sovereign and independent character, and yet their mutual reliance."

Again, the new constitution reverentially invokes "the favor of Almighty God." In the old, the existence of a Supreme Being appears to have been entirely ignored.

In the original not only has the word slave been omitted, but even the idea has been so studiously avoided as to raise grave questions concerning the intent of the several clauses in which the "institution" is a subject of legislation; while in the new the word "slaves" is boldly inserted, and the intention of its framers so clearly defined with reference to them, that there is hardly a possibility of misapprehension.

Again, contrary to the expectation of the majority of the Northern people, who have persistently urged that the object of the South, in establishing a separate Government was to re-open the African slave trade, the most stringent measures are to be adopted for the suppression of the trade.

And all has been done with a unanimity which indicates the harmony of sentiment that prevails among the people of the seceding States, and among the delegates by whom they were represented in the Southern Congress.

Clearly, the author does not try to hide the "intention of its framers" - especially since this article neglects to mentions items such as tariffs, yet finds a way to "boldly" insert comments about the particular "institution" that seems to have been more than a little bit important to those framers.

Also, I wonder how long it took before the author realized that the "unanimity" and "harmony of sentiment" that aided in the drafting of this Constitution were more mirages than long-term pieces of the Confederate experiment.

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